Despite cold, soldiers feel warmth of community

Sergeant Roger Derrick is the watch leader for ADF personnel supporting NSW Police at the Albury Wodonga Causeway checkpoint on the NSW Border.

Despite cold, soldiers feel warmth of community

For two ADF personnel supporting NSW Police on border control points along the Murray River, the chilly weather is not a hindrance.

Albury Wodonga resident and watch leader at the Causeway control checkpoint in Albury, Sergeant Roger Derrick said he was happy to help his community despite the cold. 

“You don’t really notice it, and locals are always bringing us hot brews to warm us up,” Sergeant Derrick said. 

“It’s terrific to have mates and families wave and call out when they pass through the checkpoint.

“I can’t think of a better way to give back to my community than to be here supporting the police and demonstrating the ADF’s ability to help out in times of need.” 

Sergeant Derrick works in the Army School of Health at Latchford Barracks. 

He leads a shift of eight soldiers supporting NSW Police checking travel permits and advising members of the community transiting the control point.

Sergeant Derrick said most of the soldiers were from Latchford Barracks. 

“They are a keen group who are learning so much from working closely with police and engaging with the community,” he said. 

A soldier manning another border control checkpoint at Jingellic, NSW, is Private Tom Keely, from Reserve Unit 1/19 Alpha Company based in Wagga Wagga. 

Private Keely said he was glad to support the community in which he grew up in.

“I’m more than happy to be here – this is my second time called up to support my region,” he said. 

“I was deployed during Bushfire Assist earlier in the year.” 

Operation COVID-19 Assist is a 24-hour-a-day operation with about 500 ADF members deployed to 20 state-border crossing checkpoints.

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